Twitter, and the rest

Despite my being a fan of Twitter, just like Dave and Dave, I am getting fed up with the failing… and the fact that the fail whale is like some cute little “oops” mascot is sort of annoying. But hey, it’s a free service, what do you expect? No much, right?

Along came Plurk which is, well, I dunno… completely ignorable. Oh, and there is FriendFeed which Dave Slusher dumped Twitter for, but that just feels like too much too often to me. Too many updates, and updates from friends of friends? Argh…

Right now Twitter still has an advantage, but I feel like it’s slipping away with every feature that gets disabled, and every whale they serve up. is interesting to me because it can be decentralized, and because it’s open source. But is it too late? I don’t think so. I mean, Blogger was the deal years ago, and they kept having their own fail, and nowadays look at WordPress. It ain’t over til it’s over.

I think has to do a few things to step up as a Twitter replacement.

  • Twitter compatible API – We need clients to make as easy as Twitter to use
  • Friend importer – We need an easy way to migrate from another service
  • Continued development – Right now Laconica is open source, that’s all good, but interested from developers and widespread adoption of a community will be key

I’m now using to post to both Twitter and This is a bit of a pain, but it works. Sort of. I opted not to post from to every damn service I belong to, as I find it annoying to read the same thing from my friends on 6 different networks. (And yeah, some sort of de-dupe filtering sort of thing is needed here.)

Anyway, I have hopes for as a replacement for Twitter, or at least as a “private label” Twitter since the source it out there for you to use as you like. Go forth developers, and make something awesome!

(You can follow me on, I am raster)


Web414, BCMKE3, Teecycle

The Web414 July 2008 Meeting will be held on Tuesday July 8th, 2008 at Bucketworks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The June meeting was at MSOE due to the water damage sustained at Bucketworks. For those of you who have not been to Bucketworks since the incident, you’ll get to see the damage, and hopefully that won’t distract us too much from the Web414 meeting.

We’ll start some of the planning for BarCampMilwaukee3 which is set for the first weekend of October. Hopefully by then Bucketworks will be fully operational. While we will discuss BarCampMilwaukee3, the real planning will start to happen at dedicated meetings yet to be scheduled. As always, anyone interested in helping out is welcome to participate. We’re open like that.

Oh, we have one more thing in store for the Web414 meeting. Teecycle is this neat idea involving selling used shirts online. Here’s how they describe it:

Cool pre-loved vintage T-shirts for cheap. It’s like adopting a cute rescue puppy from an animal shelter, except a Teecycle shirt won’t ruin your furniture, terrorize your cat and crap all over your carpet.

Your purchase also supports the River Revitalization Foundation. $1 of each sale is donated to restore urban river trails and waterways in the Milwaukee area.

I think it’s cool that they are using the web to do this. Tim from Teecycle has asked if anyone from Web414 wants to help him out and model some shirts. If you are interested, stick around after the meeting and get your photo taken. Also, if you have any old shirts you want to donate to Teecycle, bring them to the meeting.

I look forward to seeing you there.


Video Installation

So we’re working on a video installation and we’re planning on putting up a big LCD TV, and want to be able to show photo slide shows and video on it.

Our first thought was, get a DVD player and connect it to the TV (behind the wall as the TV will be mounted flat or recessed to the wall) and we would then author DVDs and play as needed. This could work, but we’re then looking at the DVDs being standard definition versus high definition. So while this option is cheap, and somewhat easy, the quality would be low. (And burning HD or Blu-ray DVDs is not something we are currently doing.)

We also thought about connecting an old G4 to the TV. We currently have a G3 connected to an LCD monitor doing the photo slide show thing, and connecting a G4 might work, but we need to deal with actually connecting it to a TV, which would probably have HDMI but not VGA, and VGA would probably look like crap.

So, I’m starting to think an AppleTV, at $229 is the best option. It’s pretty much built to do what we want. We could manage the content through iTunes and the AppleTV interface, and make playlists that could loop, and… am I missing anything?

Update: It seem you can’t make playlists that loop on the AppleTV, which is a “WTF!?” type moment when people hear that…

Update See Video Installation (Part II)